The Rockford Files (1975) – Say Goodbye to Jennifer & Charlie Harris at Large

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Private Investigator Jim Rockford (James Garner) gets into it again with this week’s two episode installment.

Up first is Say Goodbye to Jennifer, which aired 7 February, 1975, was directed by acting legend Jackie Cooper, and penned by Juanita Bartlett and Rudolph Borchert from a story by Roy Huggins.It guest stars Hector Elizondo as ex-war buddy turned fashion photographer, John Micelli.

The phone gag features Rockford’s maid service calling to complain about the state of his place every time she comes to clean, it looks like people have been fighting, so she quits.

For me this was a nice bittersweet episode, especially its end, as it sees the relationship between Jim and Micelli, Mitch. Micelli hires Jim to find a model he knows, and is in love with, when she becomes the prime suspect and then believed to be a victim of murder herself.

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Mitch believes differently and pleas with Rockford to find her, he’s absolutely sure he’s seen her, and believes she has returned to Seattle. When a couple of thugs come around looking for her as well, Jim decides to go to Seattle and find her.

There is a great bit with Jim and Rocky (Noah Beery, Jr.) arguing about the fact that Jim was supposed to fix his truck, and then calling from the garage constantly to be picked up, when Jim didn’t fix it. There’s also some fun with Becker (Joe Santos) as he and Jim work some angles of the case together.

As we come up on the end of the first season you can see that a lot of the characters are firmly in place, and the little character interactions make them wonderfully real, within the confines of the world.

The second episode this week is called Charlie Harris at Large. It aired 14 February, 1975 and was written by Zekial Marko, based on a story by Roy Huggins.

The phone gag this time around is a girl named Suzie calling from the local laundromat to inquire why Jim hadn’t called her yet.

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Jim is called by a former cellmate, Charlie (Tony Musante) who has been accused of murdering his wife, but he has an alibi, a woman he was having an affair with, Linda Bannister (Star Trek’s Diana Muldaur). Unfortunately, she isn’t coming forward to help him, and Jim has to find her before Charlie is caught and sent back to prison.

Beth (Gretchen Corbett) makes a welcome appearance, it’s been awhile since we last saw her.

Jim advises Charlie to talk to Beth, as he doesn’t deal with open cases, but Charlie keeps pushing, and promises that Jim will get paid from his wife’s will.

Things go from bad to worse, when Linda’s husband, Alfred (Warner Anderson) warns Jim off the case. He’s aware of his wife’s impropriety but they have an understanding and as long as she keeps a low profile with it, he doesn’t have a problem with it. This case, however, will be front page news, and that’s unacceptable.

Becker tries to help Jim out as well, but it all comes down to Rockford figuring out who the real murderer is, and hoping that the inheritance gets sorted out so he can get paid soon. (I also like the fact that Jim is constantly be woken up this episode, when all he wants to do is sleep).

Poor Jim.

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